AgiproNews Italian View – Glassia probe widens  

The ramifications of Italian police’s ‘Glassia’ anti-mafia investigation deepen as Dutch finance magnate Marcel Boekhoorn, founder of private equity fund Ramphastos Investments, is placed under investigation.

Amsterdam-based Ramphastos sees itself implicated in Glassia, having acquired Austrian betting firm SKS365 Group the operating company of bookmaker Planetwin365, in 2016 for €160 million.

Last week, the magistrate of Reggio Calabria confirmed that Boekhoorn and Ramphastos executives Diedrik Oost and Philip Van Wijngaarden had been charged of money laundering by ‘investing sums deriving from illegal activities’.

Ramphastos accusations concern the PR firm’s purchase of an 80% stake in Italian casino games developer Talenta Labs undertaken for €2.4 million during 2017.

Reggio Calabria’s magistrate has accused Boekhoorn and Ramphastos executives of knowingly investing in ‘Talenta Labs’ as a vehicle which would be used for money laundering activities.

The acquisition of Talenta had been spearheaded by former SKS365 Chief Executive Paolo Tavarelli, who has been charged of helping Mafia gangs launder money through SKS365 properties.

Ramphastos has denied “any wrongdoing, that has been perpetrated by its managers in the financial settlement of the acquisition of Talenta Labs”.

“Ramphastos puts its trust in the Italian justice system and will cooperate with any possible investigation by the authorities. As a matter of policy, Ramphastos does not comment further on the ongoing legal proceeding” the Dutch PE fund stated.

The PE executives are confident of being able to explain their investments to Italian Prosecutors, as media reports that a further 51 suspects have been ordered to present all corporate statements, briefs and documents attached to the anti-mafia investigation.

Among the long list of individuals now at risk of facing trial in Reggio Calabria are also the former owners of Austrian bookmaker SKS365 and representatives from Malta-based OIA Services, which manages the Betaland brand.

To date, police raids connected to the “Galassia” investigation have resulted in the confiscation of assets worth more than €1 billion and the arrest of more than 68 people accused of criminal conspiracy, money laundering, illegal betting and tax evasion.

The investigation, led by the prosecutor offices of Reggio Calabria, Catania and Bari regions, has been branded as Italian Police’s largest ever AML probe with a combined annual turnover of around €4 billion.

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